The weekend before the trade deadline is when it becomes time to keep a close eye out for surprising scratches as those often signal a possible trade is on the horizon. That is what has happened with Blackhawks winger Mattias Janmark as head coach Jeremy Colliton told reporters, including NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis (Twitter link) that the forward is being held out of the lineup for tonight’s game versus Columbus due to an “organizational decision”, a phrase that seems like a professional way of saying that they’re not risking an injury with the deadline just over 48 hours away.
The 28-year-old is in his first season with Chicago after signing a one-year, $2.25MM deal with them at the beginning of free agency last summer following a strong showing with Dallas in the bubble. While his possession numbers have been ugly, he has been one of their better secondary scorers as he has notched ten goals and nine assists in 41 games to put him fourth in team scoring while averaging a career-best 16:49 per night. 1:50 of that has come on the penalty kill which will definitely intrigue teams that are buying.
Playoff-bound teams would likely be eyeing Janmark as a bottom-six addition and with it shaping up as a buyers’ market so far, GM Stan Bowman likely won’t be able to get a significant return and will probably need to retain on the contract (or take a player back) to help facilitate a move. However, with Chicago starting to fall further out of the Central playoff picture (they’re now four points behind Nashville while Dallas can pass them if they win some of their games in hand), the apparent decision to part with the pending UFA certainly makes sense.